Words like credibility and gravitas get tossed around a lot and in the process land in places they don’t belong. Sometimes, however, they land dead on. Such is the case with Bob Woodward. I think for those of us who lived through Watergate, and were at least old enough to grasp the fact that something politically earth-shattering was occurring, “Woodward and Bernstein” are names tattooed on our brains. Since their extraordinary investigative journalism led to the resignation of then President Richard Nixon, Bob Woodward has spent decades rightfully earning a certain amount of respect for the seriousness with which he continues to approach reporting, and critiquing, our politicians and our nation.
Woodward, based upon his decades-long access to and writing about every President since Nixon called President Obama’s approach to the sequestration issue “mad”…as in insane. Needless to say his comment landed with a thud at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Questioning the sanity of a sitting President is bold under the best of circumstances. But with a President as “thin-skinned” as this one (again Woodward’s language, not mine) and as intentionally insulated from criticism by a generally fawning press, it turns out to be dangerous. The response to Woodward’s comment came from a high level White House staffer who chewed Woodward out for thirty minutes on the phone then followed up with an email warning him he would “regret” what he was saying publicly.
This President and those who surround him govern by bullying, disregard and hubris. I’ve written about their approach long before this latest incident. What I find so disturbing, as should every American, is the now fully unmasked disregard this President has come to exhibit for the dignity, sanctity and scope of the office to which he was elected. Further, he seemingly couldn’t care less about the desires and preferences of the citizens who put him there.
Bob Woodward has verbalized what many of us have thought for some time now. Either Barack Obama does not care about the destruction of the United States or he intends it to happen. Either way, he is mad. And either way, Bob Woodward has had the courage to call it like it is.
Finally, credibility and gravitas in action.